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Nicola

Paddle boarding in Alberta

I make semi-regular trips to Canmore, and when I drive past the Canmore Reservoir, past the turquoise blue water framed by the Rocky Mountains, I’ve seen the paddleboarders out there looking so cool and standing on their boards in one of the most beautiful places in the world and I keep thinking, “I want to do that.”

I finally had my chance to paddleboard otherwise known as SUP (the term SUP refers to stand up paddleboarding) after the Rocky Mountain Soap Women’s Run this past May, and now I’m convinced everyone needs to have a go because it was a) not as hard as I thought* b) really peaceful out on the reservoir! If every parent doesn’t need to spend some time out alone (or with friends) on a lake in Alberta, who does?

*I must preface this with I’m not athletic, or coordinated, and am more likely to be found in my house than out being active in nature. 

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In Contests, Edmonton on
May 23, 2018

Super fun kids camps with Metro Continuing Education

If your kids are anything like mine, they’re very particular about the types of camps they attend summer. We don’t do a lot of camps during the summer because being bored is important for kids (as well as being very annoying for mom and dad), and the costs of camps can really add up (especially with three kids). The camps we sign the kids up for have to be special in that they’re learning a skill or improving on a skill set they have. It’s a lot of money to send kids to a camp so it’s important to us to make sure that the camp is a high quality.  As a parent I get excited when my kids get excited about camps and here’s a couple that we’re excited about from Metro Continuing Education in Edmonton.

We’re excited to be giving away a one week camp up to $400 for one lucky winner! Contest rules are below, but here are some of our favourite camps at Metro Continuing Education to get you thinking of what class you’d like to win! * Contest is now closed*

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Summer Camps With Kepler Academy

One of our favourite child care providers in Edmonton is offering summer camps this summer! Using the same innovative approach to education Kepler Academy has joined these approaches and curriculum to day camps in July and August for children ages 5 to 12.

There are three summer camp modules for your kids;

  •  The Amazing Race
  • The Arctic
  •  Real-Life Superheroes

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In Explore, Health, Lifestyle, Parenting on
April 30, 2018

Sunscreen and your Kids

It’s HERE! That big yellow light in the sky that feels kinda warm and that melted all the snow is an indication that spring (and eventually summer) is here! Yes, I legitimately just jinxed it for us all, but it can’t snow all year can it? (Apologies in advance if it does indeed snow all year.).  That being said, when the sun comes out we all need to start worrying about sunscreen and sunburns and protecting our kids from getting burnt.

May is Melanoma month and I’m not saying this to scare you, but I am saying it from a “whitey shade seeker with a large collection of wide-brimmed hats who applies sunscreen on her kids before they leave for school (and packs them travel sunscreen to take to school)” concerned parent to another. Everyone gets hats and sunscreen, and the kids know better than to fight me with it.

Here are some scary facts to get you in the mood for SUNSCREEN!

It was estimated that in 2017:
– 7,200 Canadians will be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer.
– 1,250 Canadians will die from melanoma skin cancer.
– 4,000 men will be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer and 790 will die from it.
– 3,300 women will be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer and 450 will die from it.

Source: Canadian Cancer Society

Bare with me for a minute, because I could go on and on all day, but this isn’t just a white skinned person disease (although yes, it’s predominately a caucasian illness), people with darker skins are also at risk for skin cancer. Darker skin doesn’t mean you’re immune, in FACT, skin cancer can present differently in people of colour than in Caucasian skin, which is a whole other topic but you can find articles here and here about that.

If you (or your child) have had at least one blistering sunburn in your lifetime you have a higher risk of developing melanoma (source).

A recent study found that Alberta is on par with warmer countries in terms of skin cancer risk. Many of this can be attributed to our need to bust out of the house when the temperatures are warmer, that our cold (and looooong) winters prevent us from skin cancer and our farmers spending those long days out in the sun with no sun protection.

Hug a farmer today and then slather them with sunscreen. It’s the right thing to do.

What’s a mama to do? Easy peasy.

  • Wear your sunscreen
  • Wear a hat
  • Sunglasses, they’re important too
  • Shade seek
  • Cover your skin.

I’m not saying that you should become a sun hermit like me, although I’m counting on this to give me the most amazing skin when I’m 80, but, you need to look after your biggest organ …

 

…which is your skin.

 

What about your kids?

 Babies

The rules are a little different when it comes to applying sunscreen to babies. According to the Government of Canada, do not apply sunscreen to babies under 6 months (unless directed to do so by your Dr.), their skin is much more delicate and sensitive than ours. Keep babies out of direct sunlight to prevent sunburns, overheating and dehydration.  Little babies need hats, shade and fluids when they’re in the heat.

Kids

Kids can and should wear sunscreen, and a hat, and sunglasses when outside. I know it can be a real pain in the backside to get a toddler to keep a hat on, so I have no tips there, but keep trying to keep that hat on, and know that one day, in a very very long time from now they will never thank you for it, but you did a good job keeping them sun safe. The suns rays (UV rays) are the strongest between 11 & 3, and it’s best to limit exposure to UV rays during this time. Again, I know, these are the times that kids should be outside playing and having fun. I’m just letting you know.

Skin cancer is a preventable disease and with summer around the corner (fingers crossed) as we send the kids outside to play and ride their bikes and climb trees, can we just slather a bunch of sunscreen on them and pop a hat on their head before they head out?

In Business, Lifestyle, Random Thoughts on
April 23, 2018

How do I make my Facebook profile private?

We’re now 11 years into social media land and for those of us who became parents around the time Facebook started, our habits have changed, especially when it comes to posting pictures of our kids. Why? Well, for lots of reasons but mostly our awareness around our kids’ digital footprint, but also, for our own privacy.

With all the changes that happen on Facebook, it’s a good idea to go into the settings and make sure that we have opted into the privacy settings that make sense to us and the content that we are posting online. Even if we think our information on Facebook is set to private, it might not be. To be sure that your profile is private from people you don’t know, follow these steps.

(Before we get into the nitty-gritty, the following steps will be done from Facebook on my desktop, and secondly, as you know Facebook changes its layout on a regular basis, so if you’re reading this at a later date, some of the functions might look a little different. )

How to make sure your personal Facebook page is private.

The most effective way to check your privacy

This isn’t the 3 step short-cut that Facebook offers, this takes a little bit longer but is the best way to adjust what content on your personal profile is seen by your friends and “non-friends” on Facebook.

At the very top right of your screen click on the arrow next to the “?” and that will bring down a list of options for you to choose from. Scroll down that list and then click on “Settings.”

Your screen should look like the image below and once you get there click on Privacy (where my green arrow is):

Once you’ve clicked on privacy, this is where you can get nit-picky about who sees your content. You can limit who sees your friend lists, who can look up your phone number, your email address and who can send you friend requests. Edit this as you see fit. I’ve got my settings to friends only for all except “Who can send you friend requests,” I’ve selected “friends of friends” (and then, of course, you’re under no obligation to accept that friend request.

Next head on over to the “Time Line and Tagging” section

This is where you select who can see the content on your Facebook page. This section is for who can tag you in photo’s, who can see photo’s you’ve been tagged in etc.

 

BUT, the most important part of this page which is kinda hidden is in the REVIEW section.

 

Look for the second item “Review what other people see on your timeline” and click on “view as” this will show you what your personal profile looks like to people who are not your friends.

Slowly look through, is this what you want it to look like? If so, you’re off to the races. If not, you need to adjust some settings. It will show all your profile picture updates and the comments underneath your profile photos no matter what privacy setting you have it on. Why is this the most important section? Because you may think that your profile is on lockdown but there may be other things that need adjusting.

Why is this important?

Well, it’s not unless it’s a priority to you. Many people post pictures of their kids for their friends and family to see how the kids have grown but not realizing that yes, your great aunt can see the pictures, but so can anyone with access to Facebook if you don’t change the settings. If this is important to you, then yes, you need to spend the time (about 10 minutes) to check your settings.

Can you do this on your mobile phone?

YES you can! Follow the same procedure as above (Settings and Privacy and then tap on account settings) from there you’ll be taken to screens that are similar to the ones above. Don’t be tempted to do the quick review on the mobile app, scroll down and check all the settings to make sure you are comfortable with who sees your information.

 

 

Bike Swap Alberta

At some point in the next month, the snow will melt and at some point, it will reach above 10 degrees and we’ll be able to send our kids back into the neighbourhood onto their bikes. The trouble is is that your child has grown, and now their knees are hitting the handlebars and now they need a new bike. Not to worry, Alberta Bike Swap is here to save your bank account, and not just for your kids because you need a bike too!

Alberta Bike Swap is a registered non-profit and gives people a safe place to sell, donate or buy a bike, and bike swaps are happening across Alberta in Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Edmonton, Calgary and Red Deer. 

 

“Bikes sold at the swap are safer than a garage sale purchase because our squad of volunteer bike techs perform a basic safety and mechanical check of each bike.” – Alberta Bike Sales

 

What do you need to know before you head to a bike swap? Well, that depends on if you’re buying or selling, but here are some factoids.

Selling a Bike:

  • If you want to sell your kids bike, it won’t be accepted to sell if it’s from a box store (Canadian Tire, Walmart etc.). They do this for quality assurance.
  • Have a bike that no longer fits your child and you’d like to donate that bike? They can do that too, please make sure the bike is in good condition and it’s is decent working order.
  • It costs $2 to get into a swap and that money goes to a local charity.
  • You don’t have to be there to sell you bike which for me is a win-win. If you’re just there to sell your bike, you just drop it off. Boom. Easy. There is a 15$ fee to put your bike in the sale, which ensures that only good bikes are going to be at the swap. No one is paying 15$ for someone to sell their 50$ bike. If you’re an AMA member, the cost to “rack” your bike is $10.

Buying a Bike

  • Swaps. Get. BUSY. Get there as early as you can (see locations for dates/times below). You may be waiting outside so dress accordingly. The bike racks are set up at 6am in Edmonton and Calgary, and yes, you’re welcome to line up at 6am.
  • There is a $2 admission, but kids 12 and under are free.
  • They only accept cash or debit cards. No credit cards.

Locations & Dates

Calgary 

When: May 5, 2018

Consign: 0800-1400
Buy: 1430-1600
Donate: 0800-1600

Where: City Centre Parkade, 340 10 Ave SW

Edmonton
When: May 12

Consign: 0800-1400
Buy: 1430-1600
Donate: 0800-1600

Where: Kinsmen Sports Centre Fieldhouse, 9100 Walterdale Hill

Lethbridge

When: April 28, 2018

Consign: 0900-1400
Buy: 1430-1600
Donate: 0900-1600

Where: Exhibition Park North Pavillion 3401 Parkside Dr. S

Medicine Hat

When: April 27, 2018

Consign: 1500-1900
Buy: 1915-2030
Donate: 1500-2000

Where: Exhibition and Stampede Wildrose Room Higdon Hall, 2055 21 Ave SE

Red Deer

When: May 11, 2018
Consign: 1600-1900
Buy: 1915-2030
Donate: 1600-2030

Where: Salon B Westerner Park 4847A 19 St

 

For more information please check the Alberta Bike Swap website or their Facebook page

In Contests, Edmonton, Explore on
March 21, 2018

Breakfast with the Easter Bunny at Fort Edmonton Park

Easter at Fort Edmonton Park

It’s the first day of spring and just like that Easter is around the corner. Fort Edmonton Park is making Easter easier for you this Easter with the Easter Bunny’s Pancake Breakfast! The morning starts out with a kid-approved breakfast of pancakes (with all the toppings), scrambled eggs and sausages, followed by Easter crafts you can take home and magician, Ron Pearson will be on hand to entertain the family.
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In Lifestyle, Style on
March 12, 2018

5 Things I Learnt About Growing Out My Grey Hair

Those aren’t strands of grey hair, they’re strands of glitter.

There are many things I learnt about growing out my grey hair. I thought it was going to be all about buying purple shampoo and looking cool like Stacy London. While it’s not been hard, it’s been an eye-opener into other peoples opinions on how I should treat my hair, but also really very cool seeing my hair make the transition from dark brown to grey. Read more

In Lifestyle, Parenting on
March 5, 2018

Top Parenting Apps

As a bonafide app nerd I love all the different apps out there from photography and video trip planning and ordering pizza. I love me a good app. That being said, there are a LOT of apps out there for parents, so I’ve compiled my top parenting apps as well as some of the other Alberta Mama’s favourite apps that will help your life and not sit on your screen unused taking up precious storage space.

Apps for Pregnancy

The Bump

Device: Apple and Android.
Cost: Free
About:  From the people that helped you plan your wedding at TheKnot.com is The Bump.  The best part about this app, is seeing how big your baby is every week, and the development at every stage. Don’t we all want to know what that little avocado is doing this week? What kind of cool stuff are they growing this week?  There’s a community forum and contraction calculator, but really, I’m here for what the baby is up to.

 

Apps for Babies

My Smart Hands

Device: Apple and Android
Cost: Free & paid.
About: I first learned about My Smart Hands a few years ago when everyone was on Twitter (before Twitter became a place for trolls and Donald Trump) as the founder, Laura Berg was a regular on the Twitter and I’ve seen her speak at an event in Edmonton. There are several apps depending on whether you’re a newbie or an advanced

 

 

The Wonder Weeks

Device: Apple and Android
Cost: $3.99
About: It’s not a free app, but it’s cheaper than a Starbucks drink! The Wonder Weeks app does what The Bump does, but for babies. Track your babies development and be prepared for when your baby is about to make a developmental leap!

 

 

 

Apps for Saving Money

FLIPP

Device: Apple and Android
Cost: Free
About: It’s the flyers… but on your phone. No more cutting out coupons, no more flyers in the recycling!

StoCard

Device: Apple and Android
Cost: Free
About: Take back your wallet! Add all of your rewards cards into this app so you no longer need a giant wallet to hold them all.  There’s also an option to view flyers in the app in your neighbourhood!

Food Apps

 

Yummly

Device:
Cost: Free
About:  Yummly is a community-based app where you can share recipes and there are LOTS of recipes! You can search by popular or trending recipes, kid-friendly or seasonal recipes or for certain diets. My favourite part of the app is searching in the ingredients. For example, you’ve got chicken breasts and a can of tomatoes (always so many cans of tomatoes) and it will bring up recipes that have those ingredients in them! Boom, dinner is sorted.

 

 

Skip the Dishes

Device: Apple and Android
Cost: Free
About:  Skip the Dishes is a food delivery app, simply chose the restaurant from the app, order your food and boom, now you have dinner. The best part about this app is ordering breakfast from your bed on a Sunday, I thought I deserved some kind of award for that idea and still do.

 

Olio

Device: Apple and Android.
Cost: Free
About: Remember in the “olden days” when people used to go to their neighbours for a cup of sugar? Me neither, but my mother said it happened. Well, Olio is that thing that my mum said happened but in the tech age.  Olio connects neighbours by food sharing! Grown too many zucchinis’s in your garden? Pop them on Olio. Bought yet another can of tomatoes at the grocery store (I always do this), pop it on Olio and share your food with your neighbours.

 

Family Organization Apps

 

Cozi

Device: Apple and Android.
Cost: Free but has in-app purchases for an ad-free experience, or for premium services like a birthday tracker, importing contact and more notifications.
About: Cozi is the “all in one” family organizer with everything from a calendar, grocery lists, to do lists, recipes and a family journal.
Why we like it: Different colours for family members, the recipe feature and the lists! Lists means no more sticky notes all over the house! The kids can see the calendar from their devices so they know in advance when their dad is traveling for work or that it’s Tuesday and they have soccer.

 

Google Calendar

Device: Apple and Android
Cost: Free
About: There is nothing fancy about the Google calendar, especially when you compare it to Cozi, but its simplicity is its genius. Like Cozi, you can add multiple calendars, but what I like is that you can sync your work calendar as well. While I like that my kids can see what’s happening in the upcoming week, they don’t need to see that I have a work meeting at 1pm on a Wednesday, so I can keep that separate from their eyes.

 

Best Place Names in Alberta

Last year we made a list of all the cool roadside attractions while road tripping in Alberta. This year, while you’re adding the world largest Ukranian sausage to your travel plans (it’s in Mundare, Alberta), let add best place names in Alberta as the reason you need to pull over the car and take a picture.

Without further ado, some of the best place names in Alberta. Warning, some of these are funny if you have the sense of humour of a 12 year old like me.  Also, if you have a name to add to the list, let us know!

Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump

This name isn’t funny as it is very specific.  Located in the foothills near Fort McCleod, Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home of a museum of Blackfoot culture. The site was used for 5,500 years by the indigenous peoples of the plains to kill buffalo by driving them off the 36-foot high cliff(source). While the name is amusing, Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump is really cool and a great way to expand knowledge of indigenous culture in Alberta.

Shaganappi

Anyone remember Austin Powers??

via GIPHY

Milk River

Literally not milk.

In doing a little research though, Milk River is one of the few places the Mississippi drainage system and has the town motto of “Under Eight Flags” which refers to the area has been under the flags of seven governments: Hudson’s Bay Company’s flag (1818–1869),  France (1682–1762), the Spanish Empire (1762–1800), the French Republic (1800–1803), the United States (1803–1818), the British Empire (1869–1945), the Canadian Red Ensign (1945–1965), and the current Canadian Maple Leaf (1965–present).[5]

Entrance

Located 61km NW of Jasper, this name is pretty ironic since it’s the entrance to…. we’re not sure., other than of course maybe being the entrance to the Rocky Mountains? Entrance is an unincorporated community with a population of 🤷🏻‍♀️ If you’re looking for some early Albertan history, there’s some pretty cool information about the unincorporated community of Entrance HERE. Also, in looking up some pretty funny names, I came across Old Entrance B&B and I’ve stayed there before! If you need a place in a funny named little town, it was great!

Westward Ho

Yup, it’s an actual place name AND it has a campground which is perfect for a road trip. Step one, take a picture of the town name. Step two. Stay for the night in Westward Ho. If you want to go to Westward Ho, you can find it just west of the intersections of Highway 22  and Highway 27 between Olds and Sundre.

Dead Man’s Flats

You can’t miss Dead Man’s Flats when you’re on your way to Canmore. Dead Man’s Flats can’t seem to agree on where the name originated from, but there are two stories that might give some insight into the town’s name, one involves a murder, and the other one some mischievous trappers. Either way… it’s kinda a bonkers name.

Carstairs

Carstairs name has nothing to do with cars nor stairs. There’s no good story of where the name originated other than it might refer to a place with a similar name in Scotland.

Vulcan

We would be remiss if we didn’t include Vulcan to the list. Vulcan is the home to a replica of the  Star Trek Starship Enterprise ( Starship FX6-1995-A), and also name to the god of fire, but more notably the species of Captain Kirks BFF, Spock from the tv show, Star Trek. A massive shout to the Town of Vulcan, who went all out on their website!

Source: http://loyalkng.com/2009/07/14/vulcan-alberta-canada-live-long-prosper/

Seven Persons

This is a great stop if there are seven of you traveling, and would be worthy of an Instagram photo. Seven Persons is located approximately 20 km southwest of Medicine Hat. The internet has several stories about how Seven Persons got its name, some site the migration of the Mormons from the US who were leaving religious persecution because of polygamy. Then there’s post that delves into three stories of the town and two of those stories make much more sense.

Boyle

Boil is on this list because you know what a boil is….if not, click HERE for reference (don’t click through if you’re squeamish). Obviously, they’re spelled differently, but we want to know if Boyle was named after somebody’s boil right??? RIIIIIIIIIGGHT??  Well, no because that would be hilarious. Boyle was actually named after a former Alberta Minister of Education Justice John R. Boyle.

Special section: All the rivers and lakes

Albertans got particularly creative with some of our river and lake names

  • Keg River – is there beer? We need to know.
  • Cold Lake – guessing it’s not warm
  • Long Lake – it’s actually long and not wide
  • Flat Lake
  • Bleak Lake   – does not sound inviting 😟
  • Slave Lake – 🤨
  • Smoky River
  • Little Red Deer River